There are several reasons as to why cancers form on our skins. The biggest reason is undoubtably caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) either from sunlight or sunbeds particularly affecting fair skinned individuals. Other causes include prolonged exposure to toxins (benzenes, arsenic), the use of immunosuppressants during organ transplant operations or from anti-retroviral drugs, viruses and also genetic dispositions.
There are essentially two main types of skin cancer namely melanoma and non-melanoma. The most prevalent form is non-melanoma and it accounts for approximately 90% of all skin cancers.
Dr Slabbert will remove cancers which can't successfully be treated by a dermatologist. The majority of these cases are recurrent, aggressive or those appearing on sensitive areas such as the lips, ears, eyelids and nose. Surgical excision is always required and the extent of which is dependant on the cancer type, the severity and where it is situated on your body.
If you notice the appearance or physical change to any area on your skin you should get it checked out as soon as possible. This is especially true if you notice a lesion that begins to ulcerate or becomes very itchy.
Look out for these symptoms:
Please be aware – early detection and treatment of a melanoma almost always leads to a cure. If it is left it can progress to other parts of your body which makes it extremely difficult to cure with fatal results!
During your first consultation, Dr Slabbert will carefully evaluate the tumour to establish the type and severity as well as the best treatment method needed. He will also take into account your age, your overall health and how many tumours need to be removed. Most skin cancers will require surgery under general anaesthetic. However, some basal cell carcinomas can be excised under a local anaesthetic.
In every case, Dr Slabbert will remove additional skin tissue from immediately around the tumour which is immediately scrutinised by the pathologist in the theatre to clear the margins (ensure all the affected tissue is removed).
Once the pathologist gives the “all clear” the wound will be closed. Small incisions often only need a few sutures. While the larger skin defects may require surgical reconstruction with a skin graft or a pedicelled flap of tissue. At times, it may be necessary to use a free flap transplant. He will always ensure there is superb blood flow to the flap.
Dr Slabbert will then advise you on how to care for the wound site as well as what precautions are necessary for your complete healing. For instance, he may advise against any doing any gym sessions until the skin has healed.
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